You Are … Here

When I was a kiddo, my parents took me and my  brothers to a place on the vacation circuit called “Six Flags Over Texas”.  WOW!  Amazing.  It was magical.   I suppose it was a small-scale similarity to Disney Land / Disney World.  There was so much to do.  There were maps posted throughout the park.  On every map there was an arrow and a caption that read “You Are Here”.  That three-word proclamation made it a bit easier to get to where we wanted to go.

“You Are Here”

This post comes about from a mix of thoughts:

  • Taking action;
  • Being realistic about where we are and what we are dealing with;
  • Authenticity required to fully embrace the “here-and-now”;
  • Battle with ourselves, with our world we live in (at times);
  • Encouragement needed for us to keep pressing on, to “be here”.

Well, that is a partial list.  Another thought is … that because you are in the bloggers’ realm, you are a writer of some sort.  What goes along with writing?

  • Sacrificing some socialization for the craft of writing;
  • The courage to be still, and think about ourselves, what is important to us, what is painful, what stirs up emotions;
  • The potential for discouragement, because … good writing is not easy.

Again, a partial list.  In my adventure, and in my desert, there is a great tension: being “here”, versus moving forward.  Stagnation stinks.  Metaphorically, the stagnant water on the side of a creek stinks.  One college professor stated that he wanted his students to sip from the clear, fast-moving water of a creek, as opposed to a dark and murky pool of stagnant water.  His point?  That he always wanted to be prepared to give his students something worthwhile, as opposed to something stale, and mediocre.  So, part of my “here” is knowing that: my laptop is getting old and will need replacing; we have to get down the mountain into our little town 20 minutes away through the deep snow on the roads so I can get some gas for my snow blower; and then at some point come back afterward and get the old beast cranked up and snow blow for an hour or so; and I’ll end this list with … my own battle of self versus my Seasonal Affect Disorder.  That’s the way it is, for me, during winter.  But, it is “here”.  And we have all heard these words: “Its really good to be here, folks.”

Problem Solving, Men

“Bro: yes, there is a problem. 

Now, what?”

A friend from the distant past had a sign above his door: “Now, what?”

I connected with the question, my thoughts and my strategies a part of “Now, what?”

Hypothetical: a man asked, “Well?  Is this a problem?  Or is it an opportunity?”  I smiled at the older codger, filled up with himself.  I slowly moved my head left to right, and simultaneously said Yes“.   A confused look appeared on to his face.  “What the heck do you mean?  You are shaking your head, which means ‘No’ … and you are saying ‘Yes’, which means … “Yes’.  Which one is it?”

Fortunately, my mischievous tomfoolery was hidden, knowing that I had managed to bring some disruption to the man.  Yes, the old motivational quip most of us have seen for years and years does apply, to some degree. 

“A problem is an opportunity in disguise.”

But, if a fellow is in deep yogurt, his anxiety alarmingly high, chances are he is not thinking of a motivational poster with a cool picture and words about a problem being an opportunity.  The wilder man may just want a solution to his problem, have no interest in an opportunity. 


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Some of us men have found ourselves in a  crazed-pickle, with the only opportunity we saw was the opportunity to get our butts kicked, in some form or fashion.  For those who have the problem-solving “opportunities” wrapped up like a Christmas present, congratulations.  But some of us have not yet fully arrived at this state of transcendence.  Here are some out-of-the-box thoughts that I have come up with while walking down the Rolling Creek Trail:

  1. Two are better than one, especially when the yogurt is deep … depending on who the “other” one is, obviously;
  2. When problems, or “opportunities” come up, this is a serious place where negativity rises up like a bunch of hoodlums going after a wilder man;
  3. Admittedly, opportunity comes with problems, but we may be oblivious to such unless / until we change our thinking for the better;
  4. Denial and procrastination are both options, but not good ones, and fear often fuels both of these thugs.

Within this realm, of “opportunity-solving”, there are perspectives close by that can help, or hinder.  Here is one: “A problem is not a problem if there is no solution; it is a situation … and I have no choice but to deal with the situation.”  A dangerous move is to embrace the phrase “I have no choice”.  We always have a choice.  And if a problem is (also) a situation, that does not mean that we quit looking for a solution.  The solution may in fact show itself, but not immediately.

The journeys of good wilder men mean that we bring our tools with us: initiative, courage, confidence, teachability, good relationships, wisdom, realism, optimism, vision, creativity, a sense of urgency, and sharpened awareness skills.  Oh, and two more things: humor and hope.  Until next time. T

Up, Back On the Horse!

BUCKING BRONCO by Frank Frazetta

Timing is a factor here.  Some guys never get thrown off the horse.  And some of those guys look down on the other guys who have been thrown off the horse.  And therefore … yes, you know where I’m going … the guys who have been thrown off the horse are not going to admit, which means dealing with the “throw-off” on their own.  I’m not saying that’s a bad idea.  But I am saying that handling it on your own is not the only option.

If I were to end the post right there, after that last sentence, this would be about the reality of tension … and the reality that there are stretches of long dark highways with no gas stations, no streetlights, no houses, no convenience stores, etc., in our lives.  A guy named Tozer (long “o”) who said “The saint must walk alone.”  And maybe that is the best way to end it.  I am talking mainly to the guys, but we all know that women get thrown off the horse.  And they have to make a decision about what the process looks like.  What I believe is worth mentioning is that this is a judgment call for each wilder man.  Just don’t ever forget that you are a wilder man.  It looks a bit different for each man.  If you don’t get back on the horse right away, I think there is some wisdom there.  Listen to what your heart is telling you.  But if its about courage, then grab a good grip on that strap, cowboy.  Hold on for the ride of your life.  Even if you do get bucked off.  You are a wilder man.

Haunts from Antarctic Wilder Man

CLOSURE.  I need some closure!

For years I have carried a distinct heaviness from a British Antarctic explorer by the name of Robert Falcon Scott.  He led an expedition to the South Pole.  They spent the winter of 1911 on Cape Evans, part of Ross Island, in a structure they built known as “Scott’s Hut”.  From here, Captain Scott selected four men to continue on for the South Pole.  Scott intended to get there before anyone else.  There was a Norwegian, Roald Amundsen, taking an Antarctic expedition for the South Pole at the same time.  Thus, a race.  Robert Scott reached the South Pole (01/17/1912) and was unfathomably despaired to see a tent, left by Roald Amundsen.  Inside the tent a note addressed to Scott explained that Amundsen’s team had arrived on December 14th, five weeks before Scott’s five-man team reached the Pole.  Amundsen and his team made it back to Norway.  Scott and his five man team died on the Ice.

So, where do I come in?  I worked in an Antarctica field camp (there are quite a few of us Antarcticans) for five months, a breakfast cook.  One evening, I was told to grab my ECW gear (Extreme Cold Weather) and climb into a Hagglund (below,

Hagglunds BV206 Personell CarrierWe were going to Scott’s Hut.  The place is remarkably preserved, due to cold temperatures / low humidity.  I stood by the long dining table, next to the chair where Scott sat at the head of the table.  I feel like I know this guy; impossible … as he died before I was born.  His story is haunting; his pictures are haunting.  Maybe its time for me to quit thinking about Scott and Amundsen.  Maybe not.  His mission was a tragedy, not very positive.  Here’s the rub: Scott’s story is a prolific example of courage / desire to take on dangerous adventures. Things get crazy, sometimes, in a harsh environment.  Scott’s diaries show that he went after this dream.

I think of Antarctica as a cold, merciless, jealous, mistress that refuses to let some men leave; such as the five men on Scott’s polar team, pictured below: (
Henry Bowers pulled the string for the camera. Robert F. Scott’s expedition team at the South Pole, Jan. 17, 1912. Left to right: Lawrence Oates, Henry Bowers, Scott, Edward Wilson, Edgar Evans.

 Here is an image of his last diary entry.  The lines read:

“We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far. It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more.

R. Scott

Last entry

For God’s sake look after our people.”

Winning Battles, Men

Don’t worry.  You are tougher than hell.  There is a substance within you that makes the demons tremble.  True, they mess with you.  They mess with me, too.  That is one reason conflict happens.  If the battle gets bloody, that’s okay.  You will listen to your heart, and the wisdom that belongs to you.  You may find yourself in a battlefield, no one in sight.  The ground’s ripped up, ugliness in the trenches.  You will wonder, “Where are the other guys?”  You may not see them.

(Image below:

They are out there, somewhere.  Regardless of where they are, you know where YOU are.  And you are a warrior.  What else are you going to do?  You press on!  You own up to your pain, you’re wounds, your fatigue.  You consider that you are afraid.  You feel it in your stomach, and your mind is racing.  And you consider your courage.  Its there, in your heart and soul.  If you come across some enemies, you might be out-numbered.  But, you are still you: a force to be reckoned with.  Better men than you and I have died in battle.  It is not a dishonorable thing to die with courage and nobility and honor, knowing that you went down fighting.  A smaller warrior said to his larger adversary, “You very well may get the best of me.  But by the time it is over, you will know that you have been hit.”  Beware of the wrath of a patient man, when his anger manifests in an honorable way.  You will see strength, then.  And you might want to stand back.  

Zeb’s Background

Zebulon.  Zebulon Pike, that is.  Also known as “Zeb” by his colleagues, his fellow officers.  What a name.  Zebulon Pike.

Zebulon PikeZeb Pike.  Pike was born in 1779, January 5th.   The American Revolutionary War had been going on for about four years; and there were four more years to go.  So there he was, right in the middle of the madness.  Maybe all that war made an impression on  Zeb: the passion and courage of men and women fighting as patriots, the underdogs, wielding sharpened swords and armed with vision.

revolutionary-war-battleFifteen years later, Zeb-Man joined the Army.  Fifteen years old!  The boy didn’t even have his driver’s license yet.  And five years after that, Zeb (20)  was ordered to get a group of guys together, and head out west for an exploration expedition.  Somehow he knew that there was a mountain out here (the West) that he was supposed to go to, and explore.  Zeb and his guys found the mountain, known as “Pike’s Peak”.  I suppose that you could say … if you wanted to say it … that Pike had a peak to seek.  Zeb’s next adventure was the War of 1812.  Unfortunately, this was his last adventure.  All of the information available states that Zeb Pike died in battle.

Fortunately, we have the lore of storytelling in our midst.  Some folks want to do what they can to keep legends alive.  I cannot really blame them, for their longings are honorable.  There motives are noble.  With Zeb, for example, there is a rumor … only a rumor … that Zeb did not die in the War of 1812.  Wounded?  Yes.  But, according to the rumor, Zeb did not die in the War of 1812.  In fact, the story goes that this was where Zeb Pike was last seen, and he would not surface until about 2009.  Zeb Pike is living … based on the rumor … somewhere in the Pike National Forest (also named for Pike).  He lives in a cabin at about 10,500 feet somewhere between Bailey, CO. and Shawnee, CO.  And, Zeb is still a wildman.  Zeb, according to the rumor, likes to chase mountain lions and wrestle with the black bears.  I am not suggesting that there is anything reliable to this … rumor.  But, it is something to think about, isn’t it?  Zebulon Pike?  Still living?  WOW.